Monday, November 17, 2014

Pondering Beheadings

Since I watched a news clip this morning with a statement from Peter Kassig's parents, and my head is still in sufficient proximity to my hand, I have been scratching it in wonder.  Certainly Peter's service is something to be admired, and his death to be lamented.  Then there is the grief of Peter's parents, which I can certainly empathize with.   

What puzzled me were the statements regarding faith that came from Peter's parents:  "The world is broken, but it will be healed in the end.  And good will prevail as the one God of many names will prevail."  May God grant them peace.  Yet at the same time, I am not accustomed to referring to God as "the one God of many names", since this isn't from the Bible.  Nor does the Bible teach that the world will be healed, but rather says that it will be destroyed.  Good will prevail, but only through the authority of Jesus Christ manifested during his second coming.  Another article referred to the statement having being given at Epworth United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.  Checking the web site, there is no statement of faith as Christian churches normally provide, which shouldn't be too surprising, since this is a United Methodist religious group.  But to their credit, they don't have a formal declaration of salvation by total depravity as many of their sister churches do, and I believe there are a few Christian clergy and churches among the United Methodists.  I just can't tell what religion this church is.

Another puzzling statement from the news article reads: "He also married and quickly divorced.  And he felt stirrings of a higher calling even then."  My reaction could certainly change if I knew more about the circumstances, but it seems that being a good husband is a higher calling.  Or at least it was until a generation ago.  

Then there is this from a conservative article regarding Peter Kassig:  "It suggests that he denied his murderers the pleasure of a kneeled submission."  This wouldn't bother me, except that Peter also converted to Islam while in prison.  So which act is the greater one of submission?  To bow to your executioner?  Or to bow to the religion of your executioner?  But then again, Peter was raised Methodist, so perhaps there was nothing to lose in the conversion?  

I don't intend to answer any of those above questions, while I suppose many more could be asked.  And if I misunderstood, given that what I have learned has come through fallible sources, I will be happy to be corrected.  The main thing that stands out in all this is the clear thinking of ISIS, Jihadi John, and the caliphate, which contrasts with the total confusion of western thinking.  

11 comments:

Delirious said...

It sounds apologetic for their son's Islam conversion. "God of many names" is their justification for his switch in religion.

Looney said...

I don't want to read too much into their statements, except that I really have no idea what they believe.

Rummuser said...

There is just too many confusing things coming out of that area in general with too many anglers fishing in those troubled waters to make any sense of what is happening. I would not even try to make any sense of what is going on.

Inklings said...

I think it is confusing that we continue to publish pictures or videos of beheadings. And it's sad that there is anyone who would actually behead someone.I think if I was a family member of someone executed in this way, I would not talk to the press at all.

Looney said...

@Rummuser, I certainly am in agreement with that. There is still some curiosity factor for me in observing how people react to the events.

Looney said...

@Inklings, this reminds me that the news media thrives on this kind of news. Thus, we have the joint interest in one group wanting to cause bloodshed and another group finding it profitable to report it.

Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

Well, in Judaism, God has many names, a few examples: Elohim, El-Shaddai, Adonai Tzevaot, El, YHVH, etc etc. But maybe they were trying to say that regardless of your faith, God is one and the same (if that was the case, then the construction of the statement was poor).
I don't know about the world being destructed physically but I think that when the prophets describe events as destruction they meant a profound societal change, which basically means a destruction of the old order. Especially after the coming of the Mashiach.

Question: will Jesus be reborn, when he comes again? How does the Church explain his return?

The greatest act of submission is to Submit to Allah (i.e. convert to the executioner's religion). So, was the guy coerced to convert but they didn't manage to turn him? Interesting.

Indeed, those ISIS elements and others seem more consistent than westerners at this moment. It's a paradox.
But we are giving them too much power.

Cheers

Looney said...

Howdy Max,

My understanding is that only YHVH is the name of God. The others are technically titles, and only YHVH is to be unspoken.

As for the second coming of Jesus, this is referenced in several Bible passages, but Matthew 24 is perhaps the best. In prophecies endless wars until the end, together with persecutions. Then the second coming:

"But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the power of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a Great Trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."

The book of Revelation provides much more. Which is to say, Christians should find nothing particularly surprising in the chaos that is going on around the world!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

God, Himself, told Moses (Exodus 3:14) that His name was:

אהיה אשר אהיה

So even if YHVH were the only name that men could recognise, God shared the above name.
I can agree that others may be titles, but others aren't exactly:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_God_in_Judaism

" And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory." (Matthew 24: 29)

So would you support that Jesus will not be re-born, he will come in the clouds as an adult?
Surely, this passage is a metaphor, yes?

"The book of Revelation provides much more. Which is to say, Christians should find nothing particularly surprising in the chaos that is going on around the world!"

Agreed.

Cheers

Looney said...

Max, Indeed, but YHVH is really just a formalized form of the verb "to be", thus, "אהיה אשר אהיה" is considered the explanation for what YHVH means, at least as I have been taught by my Hebrew professors.

Many things in prophecy can only be understood figuratively, but a literal return of the adult Jesus in his full Messianic authority has been universally understood to be the proper interpretation by Christians.

Max Coutinho said...

Looney,

"but a literal return of the adult Jesus in his full Messianic authority has been universally understood to be the proper interpretation by Christians."

To avoid addressing reincarnation, probably. But in accepting such "proper interpretation" are Christians then are open to discuss materialisation of spirits?

Cheers